Dubai hotel occupancy surges to 80.7% on high visitor arrivals during Expo

The UAE’s hospitality sector scaled new highs in October on the back of high visitor arrivals during the Expo 2020 Dubai, with occupancy rates surging to 78.8 percent, the highest for the month since October 2015, real estate consultancy CBRE reported on Sunday. 

As of October 2021, Dubai’s hotels registered an occupancy rate of 80.7 percent, the highest in the country. Hotel properties in Dubai, Fujairah and Ajman also saw average daily room rates (ADR) posting double-digit year-on-year increases, at 14.9 percent, 13.8 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.  

Across the country, hotel room rates and revenues per available room (RevPARs) jumped by 13.6 percent and 44.9 percent, respectively, during the same period. 

“With the commencement of Expo 2020 and increasing levels of international visitation, we have seen a significant uplift in KPIs in the UAE,” CBRE said in its report. 

KPIs for UAE hospitality market, YoY % change 

The trend is expected to continue across the UAE, CBRE said, although it acknowledged that the international travel market still has “some way to go” to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The UAE has seen an uptick in visitor arrivals this year following the reopening of new borders and easing of COVID-19 restrictions.  

The number of passengers passing through Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest global aviation hub, reached 20.7 million during the first ten months of the year. By the end of 2021, passenger numbers are expected to hit 28.7 million. 

“With growing international visitation, an increasing number of global locations re-entering lockdowns and a number of planned events at Expo 2020, we envisage both international and domestic leisure tourism … will continue to underpin strong performance levels across the UAE,” said Taimur Khan, Head of Research to Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at CBRE in Dubai. 

However, the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant has raised concerns over the recovery in the travel and leisure markets.  

Major travel destinations, including the United States, Canada, Australia, UAE and European Union member nations on Friday moved to suspend flights from African countries after scientists detected a new variant that has high numbers of mutations. 

Stock markets tumbled on Friday following the discovery of the variant, with airlines and other companies in the aviation market such as Boeing seeing significant declines in shares. 

Global trend 

On a global level, CBRE noted that the recovery in the number of flights has already slowed this month, partly due to “seasonality” and more recently due to resumption of lockdown measures in recent weeks. 

Last month, the number of daily flights reached an average of almost 95,000. During the first 21 days of November, the number has fallen to around 90,500. 

From January to November 21, the number of daily flights is also 28.8 percent lower than the levels seen in 2019. 

“While this is a marked improvement from 2020, where the average number of daily flights sat 42.2 percent below the comparative 2019 figure, it is clear that the global recovery in travel still has some way to go,” CBRE said. 




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